Well folks, I didn't think Supermassive Games could serve me up something more disappointing than The Inpatient, but I was wrong. Very wrong. With their virtual reality shooter, Bravo Team, Supermassive Games has sunk to a new low of uninspired and shallow.
Bravo Team is just a generic shooter relying on the gimmick of VR to make it enjoyable. However, even the VR gimmick adds to the misery that is playing Bravo Team. I had so much difficulty with the controls responding correctly on both the PlayStation Move controllers and the DualShock 4. I did not have the opportunity to test it out with the Aim controller, but that shouldn't affect the experience. I started off with the move controllers, and had many issues getting my arms into a position that allowed the gun to move fluidly. My gun tended to snap around, making shooting from one side of the screen to the other a feat of anger control. The best position for the Move Controllers forced my arms into an incredibly awkward position. It was exhausting and required a lot of raising and lowering of my arms. Add weight to the Move controllers and you'd have yourself a full-fledged arm day. Even once I got my arms into that weird position and got everything working slightly better, the experience was still stale. The controllers also had to be re-synced constantly, which interrupts the flow of the game. After growing quite frustrated with this, I switched to a DualShock 4. The controls using the DualShock are not intuitive. Bravo Team would have benefited from embracing controls many players are already accustomed to, like using the L3 and R3 joysticks for camera and aiming.
Bravo Team offers a multiplayer experience which can take place with a friend, online, or with an AI partner. The AI partner is pretty responsive to commands and was adept at healing me when necessary. Most of the time the AI was helping to clear the path but it wasn't a surprise to find him merely being a pin cushion for the enemies' bullets, instead of just taking cover—even though he was standing right in front of it.
There is a cookie-cutter story to Bravo Team: your escort mission has gone awry and you and your teammate are trapped in hostile territory—wow, really shot for the stars with that storyline. Okay, so maybe a shooter doesn't have to be about the narrative if the gameplay is exhilarating. Well, the most exhilarating moment of my Bravo Team experience was stubbing my toe on the way to plug in the PSVR headset. Bravo Team is a slog at the best of times. It's just a boat load of enemies to shoot, which I usually quite enjoy in my shooters. My favourite aspects of many shooters are arenas full of bad guys to load my bullets into. The difference between other modern shooters and Bravo Team is that in the latter, aim doesn't count. Bravo Team embodies an old school mentality of not quality of shot, but quantity. Headshots didn't appear to matter, so you are just mindlessly pumping bullets into the enemies. This made for an inharmonious relationship between gameplay and graphics. When you're not carelessly firing your weapon, you're ducked behind cover waiting to shoot or pushing a button to move forward to more cover, making for a truly lackluster experience.
The graphics are acceptable and on par with many other Supermassive Games' titles, it's just uninteresting to look at. Not much to see as you walk through a sea of vehicles, similar to the level of dullness of scenery in The Inpatient. Walking through the linear corridor full of boxes and conveniently short walls of the second location is even more mind numbing. The sound is identical to the graphic experience, bland, only filled with the uninspired sounds of gun fire. In my head I attempted to spice up the experience by imagining Duck Hunt sounds as the enemies dropped. Woof woof woof.
When the dust settles, Bravo Team is a crippling disappointment of a shooter that has nothing to offer. For the amount of shooters that exist, I cannot recommend Bravo Team, even with its VR capabilities. If you want to mindlessly shoot something with 360° graphics, head to your local carnival. You'll feel more accomplished shooting water into a clown's mouth and it'll be far more enjoyable. Plus, there's carnival food.
A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine's ethics and review policies and procedures here.
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